Just Potato.

Call me old and stuck but…
Knowing that the gender police have arrived is unsettling. But first let me offer this narrative:
Back when I was about age eight my dad and I were wandering about in the grocery store while my mom was mulling over what was needed from the butcher counter. So my dad and I decided to walk a few steps next door to Woolworths and scan through all the toy selections just to kill time. As I was scanning all the wonderful toys I spotted a Mr. Potatohead. I saw a commercial for Mr. Potatohead on “Time for Beanie.” A puppet show on L A TV back in the early 1950s. But being one having no measurable communicative skills I just asked my dad to buy that one. No please. No thank you. And to my Okie boy surprise, he bought it for me.
So now my beloved Mr. Potatohead, as mandated by the Gender Gestapo, is just Potatohead. A sexless, genderless mush of potato salad. Are you following me?
Therefore Mr. Ed the horse of course, is just Ed. A genderless horse. And our beloved Mr. Rogers is just children’s TV host Rogers. Now, what would he think? And how about Mrs. Doubtfire would be just Doubtfire. Sounds a bit nuts.
Call me stuck. Call me old fashioned. But never call me Ayers. Instead call me Mr. Potatohead.1

Who the heck said that?

The little Town Church in the vale.
Many years ago and back in the early 1950s our family regularly attended a small fundamentalist church in East L A on Olympic Boulevard just across the street from the Baptist church. Our parents insisted we siblings must attend church without any excuse or resistance.
Next-door to our little church in L A was a funeral home which included two ambulances parked in its driveway facing the street. Ready to be dispatched to any medical event. Being next door to the funeral home our church was the lucky beneficiary of many paper hand fans and conveniently placed in the hymnal racks on the backs of the pews. Fans made of card stock and a wooden handle. Very handy because our little church had no air conditioning. No ceiling fans. Only open windows. So those fans with the funeral home name and phone number printed on them came in very handy. My mother used them often so I would lean in to benefit from the swooshing fan as well. Oh so comforting for an eight-year old.
Now sitting atop the funeral home was a very large two-way dispatch antenna for the ambulances. Not only did the ambulances carry ill people to the hospital but took post mortem folks to the coroner’s facility and then back to the funeral home for viewing and burial.
However the ambulances were not the only receivers of the two-way radio dispatches. Inside our little church and often in mid-sermon on many Sundays; dispatches came through our church’s PA speaker system. “Larry, where in the hell are you. Do you copy?” And it would continue, “You’ve got a DOA on McDonald Street to haul to the coroner’s office. Gets your ass moving.” And so that happened several time since those early radio dispatches. Not sure if the funeral home ever corrected the two-way dispatches into our auditorium but our preacher man later asked the funeral director to instruct the dispatcher to clean up his language until we could work out a resolution to the two-way radio bleed over into the churches PA speaker system. I’m sure my mother would liked to have gone over and washed out the dispatcher’s mouth with Ivory soap just as she did with me on occasion.

From the deep freeze.

Freezing my butt off.
At this writing it is minus 13-degrees here in the Okie nation. The faucets are dripping, the thermostat is set at 67-degrees, all window blinds are shut tight, the attic access is wedged open to allow heat in the attic where the water heater is(not sure why it’s up there), a big bag of ‘Snowmelt’ is on the front porch, and we have shooed away the penguins. How do Eskimos deal with this?

Talking to myself.
Why did we ever move to the mainland from Hawaii? In Hawaii we didn’t have to wear so many layers of clothes. I wore cargo shorts and a flowery aloha shirt to work. Wife wore a blinding floral pattern muumuu. We use to eat snacks off a pu pu platter. We use to see deep blue skies and lots of rainbows. We spoke Hawaiian like Waikiki, Kaanapoli, Moanalua Road, Kaaava Hawaii, Mela Kaliki Maka, and my favorite KanianioliHighway. And if my memory serves me well, it was a lot warmer there by far.

NoSir. Not me.

Reasons I do not like president’s day.
I do not and will not celebrate president’s day of the few dorky presidents from our American past. Not celebrating presidents known to be blathering jerks. Herbert Hoover was one. A lame conservative who had a hydro-electric dam named after him. Richard Nixon a certified and registered crook. Too stupid to realize he was recording his own private and secret conversations. Then the hotel guy. Mr. Crazy hair. @realDonaldTrump. He’s just a wad of gook from a boy cow’s rear.
But what I will celebrate is Abe Lincoln and Geo Washington birthdays. Mainly because we kids use to get these guys birthdays off from school as holidays in the month of February. Feb 12 and Feb 22. Yes. Two big holidays often in the middle of the week. None of that third Monday of the month crap. Only Best Buy and Mattress Firm celebrate President’s Day with “Giant President’s Day sales.” Disgusting.

Drop those gloves! Now!

Sheba, my phantom spouse, is a card carrying officer of the local Fashion Police. She came up behind me and shouted ‘FREEZe!’ “Put those gloves down, NOW!” She brought to my attention I was putting on brown gloves. So, I replied. She sternly instructed, brown gloves do not go with a black overcoat. But I am going out in to sub-freezing weather and these are my warmest gloves I retorted. “It doesn’t matter she sharply instructed. But all we are doing, I interjected, is driving through Braums to get our emergency Hot Fudge Sundaes. Have mercy officer I pleaded.

I like Nuts and Chews

Yes, I’d like that.
If you really want to be my Valentine a one pound box of See’s candy would prove your fascination for me. Otherwise don’t bother. Yes a rectangular one pound box of Nuts and Chews to be specific. But if you have only a one pound box of See’s soft centers, that would be okay. For the moment. Until you can acquire a box of Nuts and Chews. A good substitute might be a one pound box of See’s Victorian Toffee. However, if you are pinched and have little cash, a box of See’s suckers might be satisfactory. FedEx is a good bet to get it here. Don’t show up in person. I prefer to enjoy it by myself.

Pay to eat food?

To go where no one had gone before.
Peggy, my oldest sister was our cuisine and eating out scout. Once she was in junior high and high school and earning her own money, she discovered foods we “Red Dirt Okies never heard of. Spaghetti, sub sandwiches, chicken fried rice, burgers and fries, and most of all pizza. Prior to her discoveries all we Okies knew of was fried chicken and mashed potatoes. A food tradition brought from the old country of Oklahoma to our new digs in California.
But after her insistence to sample pizza, we caved in and went to the only pizzeria in the territory. It was 1956 and about five miles from our little home in L A we visited a place called DeLuca’s. It was just one large dining room with long tables and plain chairs and certainly filled with people eating the rectangular pizza pie served on a mettle baking sheet. Absolutely not like the pizza we eat today. It was a flat bread crust with a red sauce and mounds of various cheeses and sprinkled with onion, tomato, and mushrooms. I must admit, it was very good. No thick bready crust or extreme meats like Pizza Hut or Papa John’s when they had showed up later.
But as we revisited the place several times since that first day, success began to manifest itself quickly with the pizza pie business in the main parlor. Red velvet and gold flocking adorned the walls. Large Oil paintings of the owners and their children hung in ornate frames around the walls. Portraits with solemn smug faces projecting a “Godfather” look. Soon, came a very large expensive looking dangling crystal chandelier hung from the center ceiling. They obviously were doing okay with the pizza business. But wait, out back parked under a car port looking overhang was a new Rolls-Royce. Not bad for a Ma-Pa pizza eatery. Thanks Peg for the recommendation. Never mind this could have been a front for something else. Tony Soprano would have loved this place.


Showing on the big screen

Showing at the Drive-in.
Early last spring Sheba, my secret wife, flew with our 13-year old granddaughter to California for a spring break. This was early pandemic and visiting various places in California was either limited or closed. But one place that was available and a place she had never visited was the local drive-in theater near San Luis Obispo. She had never been to a drive-in movie. Granddaughter loved it. Just find a parking spot, stay in the car, tune-in to a designated FM station, and waalaa, movies in a car. How cool was that? Between the thrill of the drive-in movie and driving her uncle’s front-end loader tractor over his acreage near San Luis Granddaughter had a total blast during spring break. Never mind missing going to Disneyland and visiting Hollywood.
A few years back when Sheba and I lived in Hawaii, just down the hill from where we lived was a drive-in movie. A screen with Perl Harbor just sitting behind. You could see the Arizona Memorial from that drive-in. One of the movie’s we did see at that drive-in was Tora! Tora! Tora! A flick written and produced in Japan depicting the bombing of Perl Harbor. Oh so spooky.
Now the local drive-in in Tulsa called the Admiral Twin has never been so busy. Live concerts, religious services, and exclusive concert showings on the screens have paid the bills at the Admiral Twin. An exclusive on screen Garth Brooks concert was very big. Coming soon is select movies from the Sundance film festival. . By the way the Admiral Twin is two screens just off Admiral Boulevard in Tulsa. A motion picture viewing icon in Tulsa for many decades going back to the 1950s. Let’s all sing ‘Wake up little Susie.’


So much fun for a buck

Saturday Matinee.
My friend’s dad would give Jim a dollar for the two of us to go to the show. So Jim and I would walk three blocks to the GarMar Theater on Concourse and Whittier Boulevard. It was called the GarMar because the owner operator’s kids were Gary and Mary. Get it?
This was the mid-1950s. But anyway, one dollar would get Jim and me general admission, a small bag of popcorn each, and either a box of Ju-Ju Bees or Milk Duds. Both candies were slow chewing. Hard and gooey. Might last through the first feature film. The theater was a large round top hanger barn-like building. Sort of military looking. And on Saturdays at noon it held about 300-screaming pre-teen kids.
So what we got for a quarter’s admission was two Looney Toon cartoons, a weekly world and national newsreel, two or three serial adventures of Gene Autry, Tarzan, or maybe Flash Gordon. Then a Disney nature and small animal flick. And finally a feature movie or feature length cartoon. All lasting about three or four hours. We were happy and Jim’s dad was happy.
What we saw on the big screen: Disney’s Lady and the Tramp; okay but too cute and tame. Tammy and the Bachelor and Tammy’s in Love; I was in love with Tammy but discovered later it was really a ‘Chick Flick.’ Another Disney; Flubber. Fred McMurray at his best. Elvis in Jailhouse Rock; I played along with the girls and screamed just to help out. A couple of WWII movies; Thirty Seconds over Tokyo and the Cain Mutiny. There were a number of other movies and feature length cartoons but I don’t remember the movie titles. However, my most favorite movie and again a Disney production, “Twenty-thousand leagues under the sea.” Captain Nemo and his saw tooth submarine. I was energized after the movie and would have taken on any monster sized squid. Bring’em on!
But after much thought, I wouldn’t trade this preteen boy experience for anything. A gazillion laughing and screaming kids, great movies, and an intermission give away drawing, and a chance to escape parental constraints. We all were just crazy kids needing a little screaming screen time.